Costa Rica coach calls for doping system changes
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (AP) Upset after seven of his players were subjected to anti-doping testing after a win over Italy, Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto called on FIFA to devise a more uniform system that won't generate suspicion.
FIFA normally tests two players at random for post-match testing and Costa Rica's football federation was furious after five extra players were called in following the team's 1-0 win over Italy, sending a letter demanding an explanation.
''Many believed FIFA carried out the controls because they saw how the team ran'' around the pitch during the win, Pinto said.
The sport's world governing body said it was simply filling gaps in pre-tournament testing and that it wasn't singling out Costa Rica. FIFA said it also tested five extra Spain players after the 2010 World Cup champions lost to Chile.
Pinto gave an ironic thanks to FIFA for its explanation and was still disturbed Monday, a day before Costa Rica's plays England in its final Group D match. The testing came after Costa Rica's proudest footballing moment, a victory over Italy which ensured it qualified from a group that contains three former world champions. In the first match, Costa Rica beat Uruguay 3-1.
''It wasn't done tactfully,'' Pinto said. ''They should be more consistent. I would like to see them ask Brazil for eight players for an anti-doping control.''
Pinto said Costa Rica isn't opposed to FIFA conducting anti-doping controls, but there should be equilibrium. He said his players are ''crystalline'' and ''pure.''
FIFA said it wouldn't apologize to Costa Rica, saying it informed the team doctor about the reasons for testing extra players. Some of Costa Rica's players weren't available when pre-tournament testing took place.
''We don't have to excuse ourselves to do our job,'' said Michel D'Hooghe, chairman of FIFA's medical committee.
He said FIFA had to carry out the extra testing on Spain after the Chile match because the team's players who participated in the Champions League final weren't present when a medical team did pre-tournament testing.
''We have our duties,'' said Jiri Dvorak, FIFA chief medical adviser. ''If we do not fulfill them, maybe another speculation would arise.
''We explained to the team physicians and also to the managers what we were doing,'' he added. ''It's not really the most pleasant work we have to do.''
Before the tournament, Costa Rica was the outsider in Group D and now the Central American country can finish top if it beats England on Tuesday. While Costa Rica has its fans dreaming of bigger things in the tournament, Pinto is more realistic.
''We have our feet on the ground,'' he said. ''But we want more.''
AP sports writer Graham Dunbar contributed to this report from Rio de Janeiro.